Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Torrential Rains Flood Minnesota Zoo, Leaving Animals Dead

Torrential rains brought intense flooding to areas of Minnesota yesterday, including the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth.

It is feared that more than fourteen animals perished in the rapidly-rising flood waters, which came after a series of thunderstorms drenched the region with more than nine inches of rain in less than 24 hours. The popular zoo, which sits at the bottom of a hill, has been the victim of flooding in the past, but none worse than yesterday's deluge.

Almost all of the zoo's barnyard animals that belonged to the petting zoo for children perished in the flood waters, including six sheep, four goats, one donkey, one raven, one snowy owl and one turkey vulture. Two of the park's popular seals, Fesity and Helen, managed to escape their flooded enclosure but were rescued as they tried valiantly to flee the flood waters. People living near the zoo photographed the terrified seals as they frantically lumbered across busy roads in an effort to escape the deadly waters.

The zoo's female polar bear Berlin also temporarily escaped from her enclosure as well, but was quickly tranquilized and placed in a temporary pen, away from the flood waters and out of harm's way.  

A creek flows through the normally idyllic 16-acre property, which means torrential rains can cause dangerous flash flooding. Zoo keepers fear that the animal death count will continue to rise, as staff and volunteers enter the flooded enclosures to survey the damage and take a census of the animals. 

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